OBK Transitions from Joint Project with Lutheran Social Services Illinois (LSSI)

OBK Transitions from Joint Project with Lutheran Social Services (LSSI). OBK informed LSSI on February 16, 2021 that they would not sign a new joint project agreement for 2021-2022. OBK communicated an “extension of project grant agreement” that would extend the existing agreement until April 30, 2021. This would allow OBK and LSSI to resolve all issues related to client file liability and confidentiality, computer, printer and copier resources and other contractual details related to insurance and payroll. These issues were resolved jointly as part of a “transition agreement” so that OBK could operate independent of LSSI. The transition was completed on schedule and all issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parties as of May 1, 2021. This transition from LSSI was necessary so that OBK could pursue the expansion and development of their staff and volunteers, contract with IDOC, and also to pursue options to apply and secure funding from foundations and State and Federal grants in particular related to OBK Reentry Services.

OBK Reentry Center Reopened (October, 2020)

After closing in March, 2020 because of COVID the center reopened in October, 2020 as a result of completing three inspections that we were meeting or exceeding CDC guidelines for social distancing, air ventilation, disinfection of contact surfaces and a detailed screening process for clients and staff entering and working in the center. The restart process began slowly as we began to see clients in the office instead of phone call updates. The staff continued to review their goals and document the progress made in the last year. The expansion of the OBK reentry center (2019) in East St. Louis as a result of leasing from Catholic Urban Programs a two story building (614 N. 7 th Street, East St. Louis) has allowed us to provide and expand direct services to those on parole, probation and those already out of prisons and jails.

On Going Reentry Ministry (Webinars)

The Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (www.catholicprisonministries.org) serves as the hub network, a resource, and an advocate for ministries and chaplains who need on-going support to do their ministry. As Catholic, there is also a need to be advocating legislatively, both locally and nationally, for the needs of those in prison, out of prison, doing prison ministry, and the detained.

Each third Thursday of the month CPMC and the NACC (National Association of Catholic Chaplains) will be hosting town halls for those doing re-entry ministry. The town halls are structured to share practices and resources on important topics for the unique needs for citizens released from incarceration/detention.

2021 CPMC – Webinar Series (Register on CPMC website for ZOOM login and time)


  • February 10th – Trauma Informed Care
    • Ragan Schriver (University of Tennessee)

Those affected by incarceration/detention are often living with past and present trauma. How can we accompany our brothers and sisters on their journey toward healing? Fr. Ragan Shriver, PsyD, LAPSW will share best practices when ministering to this vulnerable population.

  • March 10th – Finding God Within
    • Ray Leonardini (Prison Contemplative Fellowship)
  • April 14th – Jail & Prison Ministry
    • Dale Recinella and Fr. Rich Deshaeis, SJ
  • May 12th – Women & Re-Entry
    • Maureen O’Connell, OP (Angela House)
  • June 9th – Nuances of Juvenile Ministry
    • Joe Cotton (Archdiocese of Seattle)

Catholic Prison Ministry Coalition

The place to go for Catholic ministry serving people affected by incarceration.

Contact: (cpmc.manager@gmail.com)




Restorative Justice – Weekly Lenten Series

Catholic Mobilizing Network (www.catholicsmobilizing.org) is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the death penalty, transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative. This year as we observe Lent, we are invited to enter into a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that lead us more deeply into the following of Christ.

CMN is offering a weekly series on restorative justice that will lead you to a deeper appreciation of what it means to follow Christ when you are hurting or when you have been hurt, when you need healing and when you are looking for new ways to restore relationships that are damaged.

The weekly series will follow the book Harm, Healing and Human Dignity (A Catholic Encounter with Restorative Justice by Caitlin Morneau) but is not required  reading. Each week of Lent the weekly module will be available on the CMN website and include other web-based resources and reference material, all rich in wisdom.


The five weekly Lenten modules address the following Restorative Justice themes:

  • When We Think About Justice
  • When We Experience Harm
  • When We Cause Harm
  • When WE Consider Communities, Systems, and Structures
  • When We Become Agents of Restoration

In preparation for the Lenten Series a “Reflection on Restorative Justice and the Good Samaritan” by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego is available on the CMN site. Bishop McElroy offered these words about the Parable of the Good Samaritan:

“I propose to you today that these same characters of Jesus’ parable, passer-by, robber, victim and good Samaritan also reflect the power and the richness of an ethic of Restorative Justice …. This means entering into the woundedness of both the victim by the side of the road and the humanity of the robber. It is far more expansive and demanding a notion of justice than procedural justice can ever hope to be.”


Pastoral Care – Prison & Jail Ministry

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC)(www.nacc.org) with the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition (CPMC)(www.catholicprisonministries.org/) has developed a national, integrated, and Catholic approach to identifying, preparing, and supporting men and women who can offer pastoral care ministry in the many settings it is needed.

Partners in Pastoral Care – Prison Ministry Training

Continuing the Healing Ministry of Jesus in the name of the Church.

Pathways of Formation bring together the four pillars of holistic formation that includes human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual formation for pastoral care ministers. These formation pathways for growth cover Foundational, Intensive and Leadership.

  • Foundational – Total Hours (30 Hours)
    • Understands the basics of pastoral are ministry, especially empathetic listening, pastoral care presence, how to assess the diversity of the setting.
  • Intensive – Total Hours (between 60-75 Hours)
    • Understands more deeply the meaning of the healing ministry and its practices in the Catholic Church, and understands those being serviced. Acquires special knowledge and skills for the area of ministry (options for home care, senior care, prison ministry, health care setting)
  • Leadership – Total Hours (between 100-120 Hours)
    • Leads others in service as well as provides services. Serves as a faith companion, a group leader or a coordinator of services. Identifies specific spiritual care / sacramental needs.


The Foundational program includes prison ministry and tailored to two pathways.

  • Introduction to Catholic Prison Ministries: An introduction to prison ministry with an emphasis on the unique theological, psychosocial, and ministerial needs of the incarcerated. Learn practical tools needed for successful prison ministry.
  • Prison Foundational for Catholic Ministry: Catholics who feel called to minister with the incarcerated but have little to no concrete experience providing pastoral care within the justice system.

Partners in Pastoral Care provides pathways to service in Pastoral Care Ministry. While many Catholic dioceses / organizations have initiated formation / training programs in pastoral care, there has not been a nationally consistent set of standards / competencies, nor approaches for training to ensure that the highest quality of pastoral care is being provided. The current Partners in Pastoral Care include a pathway for training clergy and lay volunteers to serve in various areas of prison ministry, home care, senior care and health care settings.)

More information is available by contacting Lou Slapshak (Associate Coordinator of Prison Ministry) for the Diocese of Belleville, IL (lslap@mindspring.com)